In honour of Ruud Van Nistelrooy's retirement, GMF have decided to remember some of the Dutch striker's best - and worst - moments.
Whether it was scoring winners in the FA Cup or missing penalties in the Premier League, 'Van the Man' was never far from the action when on the pitch.
After suffering a cruciate knee ligament injury at PSV Eindhoven, he turned things around at Old Trafford to become one of the division's great strikers - now watch the videos that prove it!
Aston Villa 2-3 Manchester United
FA Cup Third Round, 2001/02
The Dutch destroyer made an instant impact on arrival at Old Trafford in the summer of 2001, scoring 36 goals in 49 appearances during an incredible first season with the club.
And, if people weren’t already aware of Van Nistelrooy’s ability, they got a rude awakening in this FA Cup third round clash at Villa Park, when the striker came off the bench to score twice in three minutes and turn the game on its head.
His goals sparked scenes of delirium on the terraces, and would prove to be a precursor of what was to come in the following seasons.
Manchester United 3-0 Fulham
Premier League, 2002/03
The best goal of Van Nistelrooy’s career? The former PSV Eindhoven star picked up the ball inside his own half, beat three defenders and then finished beautifully in the bottom corner.
He notched a hat-trick in the clash at Old Trafford, three of his 25 goals in the season on the way to winning the Golden Boot – and the title.
Arsenal 2-2 Manchester United
Premier League, 2002/03
The Premier League wasn’t won at Highbury, but the 2-2 draw against their title rivals towards the end of the season kept the Red Devils in pole position to claim the only Premier League crown of Van Nistelrooy’s spell with the club.
Latching onto Ryan Giggs’ pass, the striker nicked the ball past Sol Campbell, raced into the penalty box and delicately chipped the ball over Stuart Taylor to put United in-front. After going behind later in the match, Giggs equalised with a far post header.
PSV Eindhoven – Knee Injury
Online footage is limited for Van Nistelrooy’s disastrous injury moment on the training ground at PSV. Just days after the Red Devils had stalled on a possible move due to concerns over the player’s health, he collapsed in agony to the dismay of those around him.
It appeared to be a cruel twist for ‘Van the Man’, who had appeared destined to move to England. Nine months later, he would make the move, but the cruciate ligament injury was one of the Dutchman’s darkest days.
Manchester United 0-0 Arsenal
Premier League, 2003-04
Whilst Van Nistelrooy’s penalty miss would ultimately have no affect on the destination of the title, it did allow Arsenal to secure their place in history as the premier League’s only ‘invincible’ team.
The Gunners took particular exception to the Dutchman’s involvement in Patrick Vieira’s red card earlier in proceedings, although in truth he did little wrong when moving away from an attempted kick out.
And, in injury-time he had a chance to put further misery on the visitors when Diego Forlan went down in the box. However, he fired onto the underside of the crossbar with one of the last kicks of the game. Wild celebrations followed from the north Londoners, who let Van Nistelrooy know how they felt when striking and pushing the striker.
It remains an infamous top flight moment.
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